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Forgivable Loan

The University of Pennsylvania established a $7,500 forgivable loan as an incentive for faculty and staff interested in living and/or currently residing in the West Philadelphia community. These loans can be used for closing costs, down payment, to buy down points, and/or for interior or exterior home improvements. In addition, the loan can be used to convert a property from a multi-family to a single-family residence. Existing home owners may apply for the $7,500 loan for improvements to houses that meet the program's criteria.

Service Boundaries

The boundaries of the program extends to the east side of 56th street, from Market Street to Paschall Avenue.  The loan area includes the residential housing across the street from Pennovation Works.  The border continues along the Schuylkill River and its northern boundary travels along Haverford Avenue, changing to Market at 44th Street. To view the service boundary map, click here.


  • Borrowers must be full-time employees of the University of Pennsylvania or the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS).  UPHS entities include (including The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania; Penn Presbyterian Medical  Center of the University of Pennsylvania Health System; Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Clinical Care Associates, Inc.; Penn Medicine at Radnor; Penn Medicine at Cherry Hill; Penn Home Care and Hospice including Wissahickon Hospice, Penn Care at Home, and Penn Home Infusion Therapy; and Good Shepherd Penn Partners) who have successfully completed the probation period, and are either United States citizens or permanent resident aliens. Employees working on a contractual basis must have a minimum three-year contract.
  • One or two-unit primary residences must be located within geographical boundaries (see map). When a property is located on a boundary line street, only the property on the side of the street that falls into the boundary area qualifies.
  • The Forgivable Loan can subordinate to a 15 or 30 year fixed rate, rate/term refinance or purchase first mortgage. The Forgivable Loan can also be a third mortgage with an exception granted by the University.
  • Borrowers must meet Penn Home Ownership Service’s (PHOS) credit guidelines. Consideration is given to credit scores, outstanding collections/judgments and debt ratio.
  • A $100 application fee is required with the submitted application to obtain a Forgivable Loan or to participate in both the Forgivable Loan and the Closing Cost Reduction Programs.
  • A borrower must meet minimal credit requirements to qualify for a forgivable loan.  The availability of forgivable loans is subject to annual funding limitations.  The final decision regarding eligibility in the Forgivable Loan Program is at the discretion of Penn Home Ownership Services.


  • Eligible participants can borrow up to $7,500 (with no interest and no monthly payments) for use towards home improvements including energy audits or retrofit.
  • Additionally, if the forgivable loan is in conjunction with a PHOS Closing Cost Reduction Program through one of our lending partners, then the funds may also be used towards closing costs, down payment and/or buying down interest rates.


To a contractor:

  • Completed W9
  • Invoice/Estimate/Receipts
  • Before and After Photos
  • Contractor License
  • Contractor Insurance
  • Completed Exhibit A (with original signature)

To an individual borrower:

  • Completed W9 (if not already in the BEN system)
  • Invoice/Estimate/Receipts
  • Before and After Photos
  • Completed Exhibit A (with original signature)

Acceptable improvements include:


• Carpeting • Flooring • Heating/Cooling • Painting • Fencing
• Fixtures • Large Appliances • Landscaping • Eco-Products • Energy audit
• Built-in • Plumbing • Roofing • Electrical • Masonry
• Pointing • Asbestos Removal • Radon Removal • Lead Reduction